During my first eight years of teaching, I struggled with the concept of summer break. As a new teacher, I was eager to spend my break time planning, reading inspiring teacher texts, and homeschooling my toddler. As my own child grew, my summer was overtaken by walks to the park, swim lessons, play dates, and cleaning up after all of those snacks. And, as an active duty wife, I found myself planning a PCS (military move) every 2-3 summers.
Finding balance and purpose during summer break took many years of refining. These are my top three suggestions for using this time wisely-for your mind and your spirit!
- Try something new. Several years into my teaching career smartphones became a thing. Once I finally got my hands on one, I started researching apps that would make my school years more organized. Menu planning apps were revolutionary to me; no more forgetting the list at home or bee-lining back over to the produce aisle for a forgotten item. One summer I downloaded all of my favorite recipes onto an app. It worked wonderfully for about four years, but over time it became less efficient to use. Fast-forward to last summer: I found a new app and repeated the process. Spending this time to research apps and upload all of my recipes would be impossible during the school year.
- Revamp your wardrobe. No, this is not a fashion blog! Over the years, I had always wished I could wear a uniform. One of the greatest inefficiencies in my morning was deciding what to wear. Having mostly attended high school in the big-hair, acid wash 80s, and college in the hippie-throwback 90s, my sense of style was lacking. As a result, I had a closet full of clothes I rarely wore and always felt like I had nothing to wear. Thanks to the wonders of Pinterest, I discovered the Capsule Wardrobe. And thanks to thrift stores and consignment stores, I was able to design my own capsule. Each summer, I take the time to hunt down high-quality items and find brand-name clothes that my thrifty heart would never allow me to buy full price. Having the time to leisurely browse through the racks for killer deals is one of my favorite summer pastimes.
- Get OUT! As one of my favorite TV characters of all time, Elaine Benes used to say, Get Out! Clearly, she meant something different and Elaine didn’t seem to embrace the great outdoors, but you get my point. Getting outside in the summer, whether it’s reading on a patio or taking a morning walk before your summer job, nothing beats fresh air. My favorite free activities include listening to podcasts while walking my rascally hound, working on blog posts in the sunshine, and kayaking on local lakes.
While those are my three favorite summer activities to reset at the end of the school year, clearly Summer 2020 has been an entirely different beast. Some of these activities, like walks in my neighborhood and learning something new (blogging!) have been quarantine-friendly activities. Volunteering, thrift shopping, and meeting up with teachers for social time have all been off-limits this summer. That said, there’s always a way to take some time for yourself, even during a pandemic. Living room yoga? Learning a new skill? What have you been doing to celebrate summer this year?